Re: “India’s gesture of sending vaccine supplies to Canada suggests ‘long-range view’ of relations, despite irritants,” (The Hill Times, March 11, online). I am concerned comments for this article were provided by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and Stewart Beck, who provided a one-sided view of the “vaccine diplomacy” being performed by India in the context of Canada-India trade relations only and did not mention the increasing attention on India's human rights record. The Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) has previously come under fire for a report that some said vilified the Canadian Sikh community. This was covered in an Oct. 2, 2020, PressProgress article, “Right-Wing Think Tank Accused of Demonizing Sikh-Canadians Also Works to Send Canadian Oil to India.” The Indian government has consistently tried to paint the farmer’s protest solely as a Sikh protest, however, all religions are represented at the protests. The article by PressProgress goes into further detail about MLI’s priorities: “A few years ago, MLI announced a 'Canada-India initiative' with the Observer Research Foundation, a New Delhi-based think tank primarily set-up with funds from Indian oil giant Reliance Industries. The think tank’s 2020 fundraising dinner was titled 'The Indo-Pacific: Crucible of the New World Order' and featured speakers advocating more trade between Canada and India.” It is also alarming that Stewart Beck, president and CEO of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada and former high commissioner to India, considers Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's comments thus far on the farmer's protests as "rhetoric." The prime minister has not commented on the actual farm laws, but has only stated that Canada will always stand for the right to peacefully protest. Similar sentiments regarding the right to peacefully protest were expressed by Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole in a video he tweeted on Nov. 30, 2020. It is concerning that comments regarding Canada standing up for the right to peacefully protest are considered rhetoric by Mr. Beck and that it should be applauded that "vaccine diplomacy" has shut down this "rhetoric" for now. In the last few months, India’s status as the “world’s largest democracy” has been questioned. India has been deemed a "partly free" nation downgraded from a "free" nation by the Freedom House's annual study of political rights and civil liberties worldwide. As per Freedom House: "The constitution guarantees civil liberties including freedom of expression and freedom of religion, but harassment of journalists and other government critics has increased under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as have religiously motivated attacks against non-Hindus." India has also been downgraded from being the "world’s largest democracy" to "world’s largest electoral autocracy” by Sweden's V-Dem Institute's Autocratization Turns Viral 2021 Democracy Report. As per this report, India recently lost its status as an electoral democracy and its Liberal Democracy Index declined from 0.57 in 2010 to 0.34 in 2020, following the government led by Mr. Modi placing restrictions on multiple facets of democracy, such as civil society and free speech. India is, in this aspect, now as autocratic as Pakistan, and worse than both its neighbours Bangladesh and Nepal. In general, the Modi-led government in India has used laws on sedition, defamation, and counterterrorism to silence critics. For example, more than 7,000 people have reportedly been charged with sedition after the BJP assumed power and most of the accused are critics of the ruling party. Since the farmer’s protests began, India has arrested farmers, climate activists, and journalists reporting on the protests. India's “vaccine diplomacy” should not be looked at through the narrow lens of Canada-India trade relations, but broadly, as India's attempt to try to rehabilitate its increasingly damaged international reputation as it continues to commit human rights abuses against dissenters, minorities, and the free press. Canada should not stop standing up for the fundamental right to peacefully protest because of this type of “diplomacy.” Raminder Gill Calgary, Alta.